E: santeesmith@hotmail.com

Here On Earth:

Here On Earth will premiere in full length production at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre, Toronto, Ontario on October 6,7, and 8 2005 at 8:00 pm.

Description:

Here On Earth is an exploration of spiritual connection to the land, Earth as living organism, Earth as Mother, Earth as sacred. Four primal Beings journey from the Sky to touch the Earth. Each takes a path that leads them through an incredible journey of discovery and transformation. They thrive in the world of the seen and the unseen, real and intangible, of past, present, future. Time stands still as dancers become shamans transforming from humans to animals. Moving through shape and form the dancers unite in ritual expression inhabiting the land of the spirits: animal, plant and human. "Here On Earth is where we come to live out a dream." The content of the new work is drawn from the Iroquoian Creation Story with the existence of the Sky World and the Water World/Turtle Island. The work embraces the belief that humans were originally Sky Dwellers who dream their existence on earth. During Here On Earth the stage comes to Life and for a moment spirit, earth, sky and dream are captured in image, shape and sound.

The originally commissioned music for Here On Earth is a product of three internationally renowned World musical leaders: composer Donald Quan, along with David Maracle and percussionist Rick Shadrach Lazar. Together they created a highly engaging composition that allows the dancers to enter a world of charged emotional, physical and spiritual expression. Guiding themes for both the musical composition and choreography embody indigenous aesthetics and world views in regards to: connection to the land, Earth as living organism, Earth as Mother, Earth as sacred. Here On Earth reaches out to new audiences interested in the cultural fusion involving music and dance.

Here On Earth explores indigenous understanding of movement with concentration on centre of gravity placement, connection to Earth, footwork, emphasis on down beat, use of space and ensemble dance dynamic. Here On Earth proves to be a highly organic work that transports the dancers and the audience to a world of spirit. Dancers embark on a journey of discovery of Sky and Earth and explore relationships to each other and environment. Raoul Trujillo internationally acclaimed choreographer/dancer and actor lends his expertise in performance theatre as mentor for Here On Earth. His own choreographic work explores ancient/archetypal and contemporary shapes as it relates to indigenous content. For example, his acclaimed Shaman's Journey explores the concept of human transformation emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Here On Earth is a captivating contemporary aboriginal choreographic work by Mohawk dance artist Santee Smith. As a choreographer she is becoming recognized as one of Canada's leading choreographers. Her major work Kaha:wi and Here On Earth are significant contributions to contemporary aboriginal dance and dance made in Canada.

Background:

Choreographer Santee Smith's initial creation and development for Here On Earth began fall 2004 in Toronto and culminated during an Aboriginal Arts Program's Creation Residency at The Banff Centre for the Arts, Alberta in January 2005. Artistic director Debbie Slade at Centre for the Arts presented the premiere production of Here On Earth at the David S. Howes Theatre at Brock University in St. Catharine's, Ontario on February 5, 2005. original cast members Rulan Tangen, Alejandro Meraz, Anthony C. Collins and Santee Smith masterfully awaken audiences to a world of movement and transformation.

The highly innovative Here On Earth is a full length music and dance piece that touches audiences on an emotional, physical and spiritual level. Here On Earth represents the mysticism and connection between life forms and earth which is exceedingly engaging for diverse audiences. The following is a review excerpt for Here On Earth written by James Wegg:

"To see them reveals a fascinating study through gesture, athleticism and art of one culture's view of the mysteries of life... Here on Earth led the way. The spirits' ascent to Earth, their metamorphosis into all manner of creatures and beings was as compelling as it was engaging. Bodies writhing, mouths opening like fishes in the sea, everyone swaying and licking their chops in anticipation of an incredible journey. The music, with its frequent pedals, hand-beaten drum, cymbals and mallets charged the air as the women then men awoke one another, flew across Ron Snippe's lighting plot and finally abandoned their same-sex duets to emerge as couples...That in turn, unleashed a number of solos hurling Anthony Ch-WL-TAs Collins into a spectacular fit of equally portioned athleticism and artistry. Soon Smith and Rulan Tangen had their moments to shine accompanied by Kronos-like strings before the able troupe revealed the emotions of fear, longing and pain, as if uncertain whether or not their venture from the sky should continue. All of that gave rise to Alejandro Meraz's fine madness (his magnetism and enthusiasm a constant delight) that finally morphed into Munch-like silent screams before the oboe and drums sent the men back to their original place, leaving only fading silhouettes behind."
-James Wegg

Currently, Artistic Director Santee Smith will be expanding Here On Earth into a full length production along with a new cast of dancers: Brian Solomon, Marvin Vergara and Tatiana Ramos. The new work will premiere at Harbourfront Centre Theatre as a co-works presentation of DanceWorks.

Throughout the initial creation to final production Here On Earth has received the generous support from: Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council, The National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, The Dreamcatcher Fund, Laidlaw Foundation, Centre for the Arts, The Banff Centre for the Arts and GREAT in partnership with Human Resources.

Here On Earth
Artistic Director/Choreographer: Santee Smith
Dancers: Taiana Ramos, Marvin Vergara, Brian Solomon, Santee Smith
Composers: Donald Quan with David Maracle , Rick Shadrach Lazar
Stage Manager: Geoff Bouckley
Lighting Designer: Geoff Bouckley
Set/Costume Design: Santee Smith and Brenda Clarke @ Industry Costumes
Set/Props: The Rabbit's Choice
Administration: The Dance Umbrella of Ontario
Photography: Cylla Von Tiedemann
Musical Producers: Donald Quan and Santee Smith


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